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butternut squash macaroni and cheese with a wood spoon

Creamy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese with Kale

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8-10
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Creamy butternut squash mac and cheese is your weeknight answer to a satisfying, lightened up meal. This recipe is meat-free, full of flavor, and makes great leftovers!


Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 1 large squash)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) vegetable broth or chicken broth (I use low sodium)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups (300ml) milk*
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound uncooked whole wheat penne pasta (or any shape/variety)
  • optional: 1 – 2 cups (70-140g) kale, roughly chopped with stems discarded
  • 1/4 cup (60g) plain Greek yogurt*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 heaping cups (150g) shredded cheese (I like gruyère or white cheddar)*
  • optional: 1/3 cup (30g) whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • optional: chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine the squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. You want the squash very tender, so pierce it with a fork to make sure it is quite soft. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F (191°C).
  3. Begin the pasta. I usually do this as the squash is simmering. Boil enough water for your pasta (check the package directions), then add a pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta just until al dente– or when the pasta is still a little firm. Add the kale, and cook for another minute or two. Drain the pasta and kale. Set aside.
  4. Pour the warm butternut squash mixture (squash + liquid) into a blender. Add the yogurt, salt, and pepper. Secure the lid and blend until smooth. Pour into a very large bowl and stir in the cheese until combined. It’s ok if the cheese does not fully melt. Taste the sauce– if you’d like more salt/pepper/garlic, add more.
  5. Add the pasta and kale to the bowl and stir until combined. Pour everything into a large casserole dish, a 9×13 baking pan, or a 12-inch oven-safe skillet. Top with breadcrumbs and an extra sprinkle of cheese, if desired.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly on the sides. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley on top. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Great freezer recipe! Prepare the recipe through step 5, cover tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and continue with step 6. Or prepare the dish in full and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
  2. Milk: Any milk works. I typically use skim or 1%, but any dairy or nondairy milks are great.
  3. Yogurt: I always use nonfat Greek yogurt, but low fat or full fat work too. Instead of Greek yogurt, try 1/4 cup of cream cheese. A little more rich, but definitely worth it.
  4. Cheese: I like to use closer to 1 and 2/3 cups of cheese. Lots of varieties work here! You can also sprinkle the top of the dish with more shredded cheese before going into the oven in step 5.
  5. Adapted from Cooking Light.

Keywords: mac and cheese, butternut squash mac and cheese